VIP Experience: PAIRED® + GABF

Paired logo with beer and food pairing

Craft Beer + Food

Included in your VIP Experience ticket, PAIRED unites independent craft breweries with acclaimed chefs from across the country to celebrate the intricacies and possibilities of pairing beer and food. Enjoy uniquely designed small bites perfectly paired with craft beer found nowhere else at the festival. PAIRED attendees will enjoy 3 oz. pours.

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Meet the 2023 Chefs

Daniel Asher

River and Woods

Boulder, CO

Chef Daniel Asher’s obsession with local agriculture, sustainable sourcing and food justice has been at the heart of his almost three decades in the restaurant industry. As Chef/Partner of River and Woods in Boulder, CO, Chef Asher is able to share the culmination of his experience and passions, while expressing the joy and inspiration that comes from gathering at the table in an intimate one-hundred-year-old cottage to share real, thoughtfully prepared food.

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Sarah Beckwith

Rosetta Hall

Boulder, CO

Colorado transplant, Sarah Beckwith, has been cooking as long as she can remember. She spent the beginning of her professional career working at The Little Nell in Aspen, CO where she honed her skills, worked with many talented chefs and learned to love locally grown produce. After that she spent a few more years in Aspen, where she ran her own cheese shop, catered and finally opened a craft beer bar before moving to Boulder to join her mentor Steve Redzikowski at OAK at Fourteenth. After almost seven years working with Steve and his partners, Sarah left to join the Culinary program at Rosetta Hall where she hopes to share her passion for locally sourced global cuisine and progressive leadership with the team.

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Melinda & Amando Carbajal

Simply Pizza Truck

Centennial, CO

Colorado locals and long time food enthusiasts Melinda and Amando Carbajal acquired Simply Pizza Truck in 2019 along with their partners Mary and Bronson Rose. Since then they have been named best food truck in Denver, served over $100,000 in free meals to those in need, competed in the Caputo Cup in Naples, expanded to two new sites (including the Denver Zoo), and have more on the way! As pizzaiolos they strive to bring high quality, clean ingredients, to fast service settings. Keeping community and local businesses and their products in the forefront!

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Steve Chu

Ekiban

Baltimore, MD

Steve Chu is the chef and owner of the acclaimed Baltimore Restaurant, Ekiben. Famous for their steamed bun sandwiches and rice bowls, Ekiben started off as a hotdog cart and now has multiple locations throughout Charm City. He is an Eater Young gun semi-finalist, Starchefs Rising Star award winner, and makes regular appearances on “Munchies.”

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Brad Daniels

Tresini

Philadelphia, PA

Brad is the chef and owner of Tresini Bar & Cucina outside of Philadelphia, PA. Brad started his journey as a pasta cook for James Beard Award winning chef Marc Vetri. As the Vetri family grew so did Brad’s role. It was only a matter of time before the fire that started in his youth would drive him to open his own restaurant.

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Gavin Fine

Bistro

Jackson Hole, WY

Gavin Fine developed a passion for the culinary world as a young boy growing up in Chicago. After working for Richard Melman’s restaurant group, Lettuce Entertain You, in his home town, he followed his passion to Cornell University’s Hotel and Restaurant Management School and then to Jackson Hole. While his visions of becoming a ski bum never fully materialized, Fine worked nearly every job between the front- and back-of-house, where he met his soon-to-be business partner Roger Freedman, working side-by-side in one of the area’s top restaurant kitchens. Fine and Freedman forged a friendship and decided to open Rendezvous Bistro in 2001, when Fine was just 26-years-old. After a number of years, Fine opened his second business in 2003 (Bistro Catering). Many years later, several restaurants (Il Villaggio Osteria, The Kitchen, Bin22, Bar Enoteca, Roadhouse Pub & Eatery, The Bistro), a specialty grocer (Bodega) and retail brands (Cream + Sugar artisan ice cream and Bovine + Swine craft meats) added to what is now Fine Dining Restaurant Group, Fine continues to be considered a premier restaurateur of the Rocky Mountain region. In addition to FDRG, Gavin is also the co-owner and founder of Roadhouse Brewing Co.

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Mike Friedman

Red Hen

Washington, DC

A 2017 James Beard Award semifinalist, Michael Friedman is owner of two of Washington, D.C.’s top restaurants–Red Hen and All Purpose- featuring seasonal, Italian-influenced dishes interpreted with Mid-Atlantic ingredients. Shortly after its opening in 2016, All-Purpose was named D.C.’s top restaurant by the Washington Post.

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Linda Hampsten-Fox

The Bindery

Denver, CO

Linda is the creative force and mind behind The Bindery, an all-day bakery, market and restaurant in the Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver and in winter 2023, she will open an as-yet-unnamed restaurant in Concourse A of Denver International Airport. The Colorado Restaurant Association named her Chef of the Year in 2018.

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Tony Galzin

Nicky’s Coal Fired

Nashville, TN

Tony Galzin brings years of diverse culinary experience from his hometown Chicago to current residence in Nashville.
Tony served as executive pastry chef for four-time James Beard Award-nominated chef Michael Kornick at mk from 2008 through 2012, where he met his wife and business partner, Caroline.
Following their move to Nashville in 2013, Tony and Caroline opened Fifty First Kitchen & Bar, earning best new restaurant from the Nashville Scene, and Eater Nashville chef of the year.
The two opened Nicky’s Coal Fired in December of 2016. Nicky’s is a neighborhood restaurant inspired by Tony’s own Italian family and their traditions, focusing on seasonal Italian antipasti, pasta and pizzas fired in Tennessee’s only coal burning oven. They again garnered best new restaurant from The Nashville Scene, as well as notable mentions from Nashville Lifestyles, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, and The Tasting Table, to name a few.

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Dan Jacobs

DanDan

Milwaukee, WI

In 2011, Dan Jacobs decided to move north to Milwaukee where he accepted a position as sous chef at Roots and was quickly elevated to executive chef. In fall 2012, Roots transitioned to Wolf Peach and was awarded a number of accolades under Jacobs’ lead including On Milwaukee’s “Best New Restaurant” and was named one of the five best restaurants to open in 2013 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In early 2014, Jacobs accepted the executive chef position at Odd Duck, where he continued to garner both media and consumer attention.

Late the following year, Jacobs left to collaborate with chef Dan Van Rite to open DanDan, a modern Chinese-American restaurant. Jacobs and Van Rite opened DanDan in July 2016, bringing chef-driven Chinese food with a midwestern sensibility to Milwaukee’s dining scene. Shortly after opening DanDan, the duo opened a highly-acclaimed fine dining restaurant and chef’s table concept, EsterEv, inside DanDan. The restaurant, named for Van Rite’s grandmother Evelyn and Jacobs’ great-grandmother Ester, offers a globally influenced 10 course pre-fixe menu that changes weekly.

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Mara King

The Wolf’s Tailor

Denver, CO

Mara King is a native of Hong Kong, a chef as well as the co-founder and COO of Ozuké, a fermented foods business that distributes throughout the US. She helped to produce a series of short films on Southwestern Chinese fermentation practices with Sandor Katz and Mattia Sacco Botto in 2017 and is currently working on a book on Chinese Fermentation as well as the second series of People’s Republic of Fermentation that will focus on Taiwan and China’s Eastern provinces.

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Carlo Lamagna

Magna Kusina, Magna Kubo

Portland, OR

Coming soon.

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Danny Lee

Anju, Mandu, Chiko

Washington, DC

CHIKO has been awarded three-star ratings from both the Washington Post and Washingtonian, and was also nominated as a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in the country in 2018. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington awarded CHIKO Best New Restaurant at the 2018 RAMMY Awards as well as Best Casual Restaurant in 2020.
Upon opening, Anju immediately garnered a three-star review in the Washington Post, and the Washingtonian awarded Anju with a 3.5-star rating along with naming Anju the #1 restaurant in their 2020 100 Very Best Restaurants issue.
Danny was nominated as a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in the Spring of 2020. In the fall of 2021, Danny was listed on the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100, being recognized for the anti-racism initiatives he had taken part of or started. Lee has been featured in several national and local publications and media outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Food Network, Men’s Health, Washington Post, Washingtonian, and many more. Most notably, Danny and his mother are featured in the HBO. Max series Take Out With Lisa Ling, exploring the history of Korean cuisine in the Washington, DC area.

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Sheila Lucero

Jax Fish House (Raw Bar)

Boulder, CO

Sheila is the culinary director for Jax Fish House with locations in Colorado and Kansas City. Sheila started her culinary career at Jax Fish House and has been with Big Red F over 20 years. Sheila has been a driving force in the culinary world through her participation with the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change as well as the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch.

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Lamar Moore

Chicago, IL

Chef Lamar Moore graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2003 and decided to head West to San Jose, CA, where he secured a job at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants. After seven years, he returned to Chicago, where he became the sous chef for the Chicago Bears, before moving on to a series of restaurants working as a successful chef and restaurateur. Moore has had the privilege of cooking for Super Bowls, NBA Finals, and even Barack and Michelle Obama on multiple occasions, but he admits his grandmother will always be his first and biggest fan.
Moore has appeared on popular culinary competition shows like Bravo TV’s “Welcome To Waverly” and Food Network’s “Chopped.” Most recently, Moore competed on Food Network’s “Vegas Chef Prizefight,” where he earned and won head chef of the all-new $10 million steakhouse, Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse at Flamingo Las Vegas.

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Chad Newton & Gracie Nguyen

East Side Banh Mi

Nashville, TN

Founded by industry veterans Gracie Nguyen and Chad Newton, You Are Here Hospitality is a contemporary food and beverage company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Through their accomplished careers as chefs and restaurateurs with various concepts along the West Coast and now Middle Tennessee, the pair share a driven passion for developing and fostering brands that combine genuine hospitality and authentic cuisines with fresh, thoughtfully-sourced local ingredients. YAHH’s innovative incubator program takes a non-traditional approach by partnering with talented chefs to create and develop their dream hospitality businesses. By focusing on offering resources and expertise to passionate and dynamic folks to assist in creating a sustainable food and beverage business of their own, Chad and Gracie hope to lower the barrier to entry for women and minority business owners by assisting as operations advisors without taking equity. The brand’s portfolio currently includes: East Side Banh Mi, East Side Pho, and Sweeza, plus SS Gai Thai Chicken as its first incubator brand launch assisting proprietors Emma and Chris Baird.

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Josh Niernberg

Bin 707

Grand Junction, CO

Bin 707 Foodbar is a Zero Foodprint member, a 2018 and 2019 Good Food 100 restaurant, and a James Beard Smart Catch “Leader” for its ongoing commitment to sustainability within the industry. Chef/Owner Josh Niernberg is a 2022 James Beard Outstanding Chef Semifinalist and a 2020 James Beard Best Chef Mountain Region Semifinalist. Through his ethos and vision, Bin 707 Foodbar has remained a staple in the Western Colorado, Greater Colorado, and Regional Dining Community since its inception in 2011.

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Paul Reilly

Apple Blossom, Coperta

Denver, CO

Paul Reilly is the chef and owner of Coperta, celebrating the food and wine of Rome and southern Italy, opened in 2016. In 2019, Paul opened Pizzeria Coperta serving scratch-made thin-crust pies. Later that year, Paul was the consulting chef for the New Belgium Brewery sports pub at Denver International Airport.
Paul is an ambassador of the good food movement working closely with Boulder County Farmers Markets, Good Food 100, Slow Food USA, and JBF Smart Catch. He is a James Beard Foundation Scholarship Winner and an alumnus of the James Beard Boot Camp for Policy and Change.

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Leah Scurto

PizzaLeah

Windsor, CA

Leah Scurto is a champion pizza maker and 9 year member of the United States Pizza Team.  She has competed in pizza culinary competitions across the United States and Italy.  She currently owns and operates PizzaLeah in Sonoma County, Ca. Since opening in March 2020, Pizzaleah has been included multiple times on the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of the 25 Top Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Leah was recently featured in Pizza Today Magazine as one of the Rising Stars of the Pizza Industry.

PizzaLeah features a rotating craft beer list focusing on Sonoma County and California with guest appearances by some of Leah’s favorite breweries across the U.S.  Leah is dedicated to being a small business owner that promotes other small businesses and their crafts whether it be beer, wine or food. 

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Benjamin Smart

Big Grove Brewery

Iowa City, IA

Coming soon.

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Sean Towley

Big Grove Brewery

Iowa City, IA

Sean Towley is the executive chef for Big Grove Brewery and oversees kitchen operations for our three, soon to be four, taprooms He attended and graduated from Kirkwood Community College with a A.A.S. in culinary arts. He began working for Big Grove in 2016. Sean and his wife, Tracy, live with their six pets in Iowa City.

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Dan Van Rite

DanDan

Milwaukee, WI

Dan Van Rite cooked his way around the country – from working as a sous chef at a private ranch in Colorado to specializing in seafood in Florida, expanding his culinary repertoire and confidence. Throughout his travels, he embraced the responsibly raised lifestyle, cultivating relationships with farmers, fisherman, purveyors and growers, which became the foundation of his cooking style. After four years, Van Rite was ready to return home and accepted the executive chef position at Hinterland in Green Bay, WI. Van Rite was given creative liberties with the menu at the popular gastropub and quickly caught the eye of diners and media alike. He then spent time as a private chef in Nantucket before returning to Hinterland, this time to open their Milwaukee location. Over the next eight years, Van Rite continued to hone his culinary skills, and his efforts led to him being selected by the James Beard Foundation three times as a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Midwest category (2010 – 2012).

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Matt Vawter

Rootstalk

Breckenridge, CO

A native of Summit County, Matt returned to the mountains after making a name for himself as executive chef at Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver
Rootstalk is Chef Matt Vawter’s first solo restaurant; which opened in December of 2020. Rootstalk is a small, upscale, casual restaurant serving dinner located in the heart of beautiful Breckenridge, CO

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Kelly Whitaker

The Wolf’s Tailor

Denver, CO

James Beard-nominated Chef Kelly Whitaker he perfected his craft at the one Michelin star Hatfield’s, and later the two Michelin star, Providence. In 2008, Whitaker moved to Boulder and started Id Est Hospitality Group (IEHG). In addition to being an active member of Chefs Collaborative (he received the “Heart of the Collaborative” award in 2014), Whitaker sits on the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, and founded Noble Grain Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting domestic, milled-to-order grains.

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Jeremy Wolgamott

Bistro Vendome

Denver, CO

Three consecutive hurricane years in Louisiana blew Jeremy Wolgamott and his family back to Denver after 13 years in New Orleans and Denver diners are happy they did. 

Born in Alaska, raised in Denver and Southern Louisiana, Jeremy started cooking professionally when he was 16, and just never left the business, cooking in everything from small mom and pop hole-in-the walls to two-star Michelin kitchens.

From a six-year stint as Executive Chef at High Hat Café in NOLA where he honed his cooking style and philosophies to ownership of Stokehold, also in New Orleans and then on to a tour as Executive Chef at Coquette, Jeremy’s career flourished as he moved up the culinary ladder and assumed greater responsibilities. But in the back of his mind, Denver always beckoned and three years of hurricanes sealed the deal to return to the Mile High City. 

Forged over many years in the restaurant world, his kitchen philosophy is simple – be on time, work hard, have fun, sing out loud, choose to be in a good mood. If you stop by to see him in the Bistro Vendôme kitchen, you’ll hear a playlist that he and his wife put together over a bottle of bourbon with more than one hundred 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s love songs. It is named Cooking WIth Love.

A big fan of Alain Passard, Fergus Henderson and Joël Robuchon, Jeremy can often be found in any greasy spoon where he can find a great chicken fried steak. 

Wolgamott, his wife and son, live in Old Town Arvada with their dog and cat.

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Matt Vawter

Rootstalk

Breckenridge, CO

A native of Summit County, Matt returned to the mountains after making a name for himself as executive chef at Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver
Rootstalk is Chef Matt Vawter’s first solo restaurant; which opened in December of 2020. Rootstalk is a small, upscale, casual restaurant serving dinner located in the heart of beautiful Breckenridge, CO

Read More

Kelly Whitaker

The Wolf’s Tailor

Denver, CO

James Beard-nominated Chef Kelly Whitaker he perfected his craft at the one Michelin star Hatfield’s, and later the two Michelin star, Providence. In 2008, Whitaker moved to Boulder and started Id Est Hospitality Group (IEHG). In addition to being an active member of Chefs Collaborative (he received the “Heart of the Collaborative” award in 2014), Whitaker sits on the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, and founded Noble Grain Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting domestic, milled-to-order grains.

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2023 menu coming soon!

Discover the perfect craft beer and culinary pairing. PAIRED showcases 25 craft beers, each one thoughtfully paired with a small plate that will tantalize your tastebuds and dazzle your palate.